Kritisk sakprosaläsning i gymnasieskolan. Didaktiska perspektiv på läroböcker, lärare och nationella prov

Sammanfattning: Critical reading of non-fiction is an essential activity in a range of contexts. Such activities were accentuated in the curricular reform of 1994. At that time, upper secondary education in Sweden was reorganized in order to prepare pupils in both academically and vocationally oriented education for further studies. For this reason, all pupils take the same core subject courses with the same curricular targets. Various aspects of critical reading appear in research and in the syllabus. Consequently, four aspects of critical reading run through the thesis: critical-analytical, critical-evaluative, critical-integrative and critical-ideological. The aim of this thesis is to study a recontextualising process where critical reading is relocated from academia to the upper secondary classroom. Additionally, a central aim is to study the creation of this process for students at two types of upper secondary programmes, i.e. academic or vocational programmes, which attract young people from different socio-economic backgrounds. The thesis has its theoretical base in Bernstein’s theory of pedagogy. According to this theory, the recontextualisation process involves various fields such as the official recontextualising field, the pedagogic recontextualizing field, the local recontextualizing field and the specialized field of research. Another field is added, ‘discursive changes’, where theoretical aspects from Fairclough are used. Each field contributes to the process with resources and undertakes to introduce students from the horizontal discourse (everyday and informal) into the vertical discourse (specialized and formal). The empirical material gathered for this thesis can be grouped in three parts, each representing a recontextualising field and a separate study. The first study consists of a contrasting analysis, mainly of four textbooks. The textbooks were studied using Halliday’s analytical tools. In the second study, 21 teachers were interviewed about their choices in the classroom in order to enhance critical reading of non-fiction. The teachers were selected from five upper secondary schools in three municipalities. The third study scrutinizes a national test and how it defines and evaluates reading activities. The results show that neither critical reading nor non-fiction has a dominating position in the subject of Swedish. The national test offers several factual texts in its text collection but as a result of the test process it is likely that some of the pupils pass the test without using any non-fiction text. The trends that have appeared in each study are integrated in a separate chapter that takes a closer look at the inter-relations between the actors. The actors interact and counteract. As a result of this, certain aspects of critical-reading seem to be disfavoured, i.e. critical-analytical, critical-integrative and critical-ideological aspects. In contrast to this, critical-evaluative activities receive more attention. Both textbooks and teachers equip the pupils with tools for evaluating sources. Above all, the critical-evaluative activities are favoured by other actors who emphasize the importance of ICT. Consequently, there is greater focus on truth vs. falsehood, putting critical activities at risk of becoming superficial. The striving for parity, which was accentuated by the reform in 1994, in some respects seems to have been taken seriously. In other respects, however, the results show that pupils in academically and vocationally oriented programmes encounter different teaching forms, which prevent vocational pupils’ induction into the vertical discourse. One such example is the fact that textbooks address their readers in different ways, assuming that the vocational pupils need more entertainment, warnings about the Internet and an intimate relation with the book, while the academic pupils are met by tasks, tools and instructions that support their induction into the vertical discourse, and their chances of being illegible for higher studies. The teachers interviewed both challenge and adapt to the reactions from their pupilss which appear to be both enabling and hindering induction. Moreover, they both challenge and adapt to discursive changes. The recontextualising process is nourished by discursive changes such as sensationalizing, dramatizing of risks, narcissism and conversationalization. It is important to discuss the consequences of the intricate web that makes up this process.

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